Under 40 Hotlist - West

Alaska

Kate Demarest continues to set herself apart at Dorsey & Whitney in her commercial litigation practice. In August 2016, Demarest won a Ninth Circuit appeal affirming the dismissal of qui tam claims against the City of Palmer, which was sued by a local real estate agent who claimed the municipality misspent federal grant money. Demarest also sets an example for peers in her work with Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act issues, attorney malpractice defense, contract disputes, corporate governance, land use matters, and state and federal appeals.

Arizona

Business and personal injury litigator James Goodnow is a shareholder and member of Fennemore Craig's Management Committee, the firm's five-person leadership team. Goodnow is part of the team representing the family of Charles Vacca, a gun range employee accidentally killed when a nine-year-old girl lost control of the weapon that he was helping her use. Goodnow also helps represent Vanessa Andrade and her family regarding a four-year-old who suffered life-changing, catastrophic injuries after she was hit by a police cruiser. Sean Hood covers Indian law, mining law and public land law, real estate, and water law and other environmental matters. Hood, who is the vice-chair of the firm's business litigation practice group, handles business disputes involving franchising, breach of contract, government regulation, intellectual property, and partnership disputes. Additionally, he is lead counsel in navigability proceedings defending against the state's claim to title to the beds of the Gila River, the Salt River, San Pedro River, Santa Cruz River, and Verde River. Jessica Post assists companies in employment discrimination, wage-and-hour, restrictive covenant and trade theft matters. She also helps companies manage issues such as misclassification of employees, missed meal and break periods, and wrongful termination. Post often works with human resources professionals to ensure compliance with applicable laws. On the commercial litigation side, she deals with malpractice defense cases.

Polsinelli partner Melissa Ho is considered "incredible" in the white-collar and government investigations arena, a peer says. The former prosecutor works on behalf of the state on high-profile litigation involving wrongful prosecution claims. Recently, Ho has resolved matters that have accumulated over the years, including a case for which she obtained a unanimous decision from a clemency board. Although the governor did not sign off, the decision is "hard to come by in Arizona," she says. Ho also works to protect businesses and business relationships and has experience in intellectual property and international business.

California

No stranger to prominent high-dollar cases, Jonathan Uslaner prosecutes securities class actions, individual investor actions, shareholder derivative litigation, and antitrust litigation for Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann's clients. In July 2016, Uslaner lent a hand in recovering $219 million for investors in a case stemming from claims related to Genworth Financial's billion-dollar understatement of its insurance reserves. Uslaner previously played a pivotal role in obtaining a $150 million settlement for his clients following the JPMorgan "London Whale" trading scandal that caused a loss or more than $6 billion. He also was a member of the trial team that prosecuted In re: Bank of America Securities litigation, which resulted in a historic settlement shortly before trial of $2.43 billion.

A fellow Under 40 Hotlister says Durie Tangri's Benjamin Au is a "smart, diligent and talented lawyer [who is] good company to have on the list." Au has an extensive civil litigation and white-collar criminal defense practice that covers appellate, intellectual property, securities, and other matters in both state and federal courts. Lately, the majority of his work has centered on handling trade secrets cases in federal court and international work on behalf of tech companies in the region. He also has worked on confidential arbitration involving a well-known social media property in a board management dispute. Also at Durie Tangri, IP specialist Sonal Mehta is cheered by a New York-based peer as "the future of patent litigation at that firm, and she's only like 36 years old or something! I think she graduated college at 19, law school at 22, and is just doing a bang-up job."

When Farella Braun + Martel partner Carly Alameda is not busy earning multimillion-dollar wins involving breach of contract or breach of warranty claims for energy facilities, she devotes her time to the Women In-house Support Equality (WISE) group, which she co-founded. Alameda, whose practice largely focuses on real estate and construction disputes, also strives to inspire and inform women and lawyers to pursue corporate board service.

Rory Miller of Glaser Weil Fink Howard Avchen & Shapiro is lauded for his work in intellectual property and antitrust litigation. In April 2017, Miller helped obtain a settlement for Bill Gross, who sued Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO), which he helped start. Gross alleged that a group of younger PIMCO executives tried to force him from his executive leadership position to redistribute his annual compensation among themselves. Miller and the team defeated PIMCO's demurrer, succeeded in compelling PIMCO's depositions, and conducted discovery that lead to the conclusion of the case, which initially involved damages in excess of more than $200 million.

Hueston Hennigan founding partner and fierce litigator Moez Kaba uses his platform at the firm to focus on big trial law in court or arbitration. Kaba's practice covers civil litigation including antitrust, entertainment, securities, trade secrets, and white-collar defense matters. He is a lead attorney representing the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), which provides extensive industry-related information online, in an ongoing free-speech lawsuit against the State of California. concerning a January 2017 law enacted that requires IMDb remove date of birth information at the request of the subscriber within five days. The company considers the law to be unconstitutional and in February 2017, a California federal judge halted the enforcement of the law at the request of Hueston Hennigan. Kaba also was pivotal in leading his firm to a complete win in defense of the State Bar of California, which faced claims of retaliating against a former employee who acted as a whistleblower. Former state senator and state bar executive director Joseph Dunn said he was fired after airing out ethical violations within the organization–after the state bar opened an investigation on him for misuse of funds and dereliction of duty.

The team at Lewis & Llewellyn in San Francisco is made up of a few partners but has managed to take the region by storm. Name partners Marc Lewis and Paul Llewellyn have more than 20 years of commercial litigation experience. Llewellyn is lead counsel for the U.S. division of Saputo, a Canada-based dairy company with $9.85 billion in revenue, in a dispute with Joseph Gallo Farms, a cream supplier, based on breach of contract allegations by both parties. Also, Llewellyn and colleague Ryan Erickson are lead counsel in an approximately $80 million dispute in the Eastern District of California. They represent the IT consultant company Sparta Consulting following a fallout that occurred with its former business partner Copart, a software company. Erickson and Lewis helped obtain a favorable settlement post-verdict in a trial with over 40 witnesses regarding former students accusing a school of covering for and facilitating abuse by a teacher who is a sex offender. The partners each help their clients navigate an array of disputes including business-related matters while being active in their nationwide practice, which focuses on matters that advocate for survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

By the time Colin Cabral made partner at Proskauer Rose in 2016, he had proven himself by successfully handling intellectual property matters involving complex technologies, patent law and life sciences. Cabral was part of a legal team that represented the biotechnology corporation Amgen in a life sciences patent matter regarding its development of a biosimilar of the cancer treatment drug Avastin marketed by Genentech. In February 2017, the competitor filed a complaint in a federal court claiming that Amgen did not disclose the information needed to determine whether it infringed Genentech's patented drug, which generates annually about $7 billion in sales. About two weeks later, Cabral and his team obtained a dismissal of the allegation that the client violated the "patent dance" portion of the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act.

Securities litigator Daniel Pfefferbaum of Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd was a key player in the litigation team that earned a historic recovery on a pro bono basis for Trump University students in two class actions against Donald Trump. After a six-and-half-year battle, the legal team reached an approximately $25 million to about 7,000 customers with each receiving more than half of their money back and as much as a full refund.

Based in Silicon Valley, David Singh with Weil Gotshal & Manges tends to a diverse practice that covers a wide variety of commercial litigation matters including consumer class actions. Singh's practice also incorporates issues of cybersecurity, data privacy and information management as well as trade secrets matters. He worked to obtain motions to dismiss two separate consumer class action complaints against a major technology company on an allegation of a defect in its top-selling device and another regarding a Wi-Fi feature of its operating system. Singh also secured a dismissal of a class action complaint against the pharmaceutical company Sanofi regarding the alleged inadequate recall of its epinephrine auto-injector device Auvi-Q.

Colorado

Jameson Jones continues to make a lasting impression with his product liability-focused practice at Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott. Jones represents PricewaterhouseCoopers in a case over claims of audit malpractice by the trustee of the defunct Taylor Bean & Whitaker mortgage corporation. The matter dates back to 2009 with the collapse of Colonial Bank and the Federal Bureau of Investigation's discovery of collusive fraud by the mortgage lending firm involving funds misappropriation. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation took over the failed bank, and PwC along with another accounting firm have been sued for failing to discover the fraud–though PwC maintains the bank management is at fault. The case is set for a bench trial in 2017.

Mark Champoux with Davis Graham & Stubbs is especially known for his work in environmental and natural resources litigation. Champoux helped defend Atlantic Richfield Company and obtain summary judgement on all claims after extensive discovery and motions practice where a group of approximately 100 plaintiffs alleged environmental property damages from historical smelting operations. The protracted case has gone before the Ninth Circuit, and twice to the Montana Supreme Court. In October 2016–after eight years of litigation–the case was a month from trial when the Montana Supreme Court stayed the case to take an immediate appeal on whether plaintiffs' primary damage claims are barred by the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act statute. That appeal was argued in April 2017 at the University of Montana's law school in a highly publicized proceeding, and Champoux and his team are awaiting the Court's decision. Ben Strawn is making strides in his environment-focused practice, recently as part of trial counsel in defending an engineering company against $170 million contract and fraud allegations. The jury denied fraud and negligence claims and awarded a small fraction of claimed contract damages. Strawn also was lead counsel in defending a subcontractor against construction defect allegations, with the assigned arbitrator ultimately assigning no liability for his client. In another matter, he defended an international emergency medical evacuation company against wrongful death and breach of contract claims. The court granted summary judgement for the client largely based of testimony Strawn obtained in deposition of the plaintiff's medical expert.

In Denver, partner Jessica Fuller of Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie works in litigation with an emphasis on class action and appellate work. Fuller, who has spent her entire career with the firm, had a big win in late 2016 in an insurance case filed individually but was a precursor to a new round of class actions. Fuller did briefings for numerous motions for summary judgement and won critical issues that would have led to class exposure. In a separate case, she helped negotiate a class settlement on behalf of the Regional Transportation District in Denver for alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act on its light rail service.

At Wheeler Trigg O'Donnell, Andrew Myers' far-reaching practice focuses on the defense of drug and medical device companies in mass-tort product liability litigation. Myers had a hand in winning exclusion of a key plaintiff causation witness in a West Virginia case involving allegations that Pfizer's antidepressant Zoloft caused birth defects. The exclusion led to the Court granting summary judgement in the biopharmaceutical company's favor less than three weeks before the trial.

Colleague Kathryn Reilly stands out as a "very intelligent, tenacious, strategic attorney who would be deserving of ongoing recognition," a peer says of the commercial litigator known for her antirust work. In the past four years, Reilly has served as lead counsel in seven separate antitrust conspiracy actions in court. Recently, she obtained dismissal of all antitrust claims against a leading technology distributor in multiple related antitrust conspiracy lawsuits brought by former distributors. In another matter, she favorably settled an $80 million federal antitrust action against a healthcare trade association after more than six years of hard-fought litigation. In addition, Reilly favorably settled a breach of contract action against an aerospace supplier involving a $10 million cleanup effort at a rocket launch facility. Currently, she serves as lead counsel representing multiple defendants in a $1.2 billion federal antitrust and labor class action challenging the au pair exchange program ran by the U.S. Department of State. Theresa Wardon earns her place among top lawyers at her firm as a partner who represents leading companies in high-stakes product liability and class-action litigation, trial and appeals. In 2016, she helped obtain a complete defense jury verdict for the tire maker Michelin in an $80 million liability trial in Florida involving a tread separation case in which a vehicle rolled several times, injuring three plaintiffs. After a nine-week trial, Wardon and her team showed that the company's tire was not defective and had been previously damaged during its service life.

Hawaii

Randall Whattoff of Cox Fricke represents mainland and Hawaii businesses in commercial litigation including Castle & Cooke Homes Hawaii in litigation involving numerous expert witnesses and highly technical issues on prematurely corroding brass fittings. The plaintiff claims that a problem has resulted in issues such as product liability, breach of warranty, and unfair and deceptive practices. Whattoff's practice also includes managing government procurement, intellectual property, and appellate matters. He is awaiting a decision from the Supreme Court of the State of Hawaii on a matter for which he argued on behalf of Maui Electric against the Sierra Club, which tried to intervene in the utilities company's power production facilities.

Montana

Daniel Auerbach draws from his medical background in his practice at Browning Kaleczyc Browning and Hoven, where he serves as chairman of the firm's healthcare law group. The firms calls on Auerbach to help represent Montana Hospital Association and several of its individual member facilities. He also is active in insurance defense and other general claims. In the last year, he has successfully defended employment-related claims including wrongful discharge and discrimination; he also defended health benefit plans in claims related to benefit determinations and appeals. Additionally, Auerbach finds time to assist individual and corporate clients with intellectual property matters.

Born and raised in Montana, Greg Dorrington makes strides as a member of the Natural Resources and Environmental Litigation Practice group at Crowley Fleck's Helena Office. Dorrington seeks ways to remedy environmental issues inside and outside the courtroom, while exploring efforts to make sure officials do not overstep their boundaries through implementing and enforcing regulations, the attorney says. In the last year, Dorrington dealt with litigation including a Fair Claim Act case involving companies that make bear spray, which is used to fend off the animal. He also represents a private ranch owner in federal quiet title action involving access issues over prescriptive easements and implied easements in the Southwest. Additionally, he was busy with broad-based government relation work and spent time during the state's legislative session presenting bills, working with clients and legislators on various issues and doing lobbying work. In the immigration arena, Dorrington works with individuals and companies to ensure people who have applied for work- or family-related visas gain entry into the U.S., or maintain or change their status.

Nevada

Shannon Pierce with Fennemore Craig draws from more than 13 years of experience as a litigator to run her employment and labor relations practice. Pierce handles claims of employment discrimination, leaves of absence, wrongful termination and more, and she collaborates with clients to prevent claims filed by employees. She has obtained several summary judgement verdicts for her clients and assisted other in achieving favorable settlement including a zero-dollar settlement in a complicated disability discrimination federal court case in 2016. Pierce also specializes in matters including trade secrets and technology-related matters.

Oregon

Naomi Haslitt is a partner on the employment law and labor relations and education law practice teams at Miller Nash Graham & Dunn. The Portland-based litigator advises and defends public and private employers as well as counsels employers on personnel issues and provides training to managers and employers. Haslitt also shares her knowledge with public and private high education institutions and public school districts on employment, accommodation issues arising under state and federal law, student, and other federal and state compliance issues.

Washington

At Lane Powell, Heidi Bradley chairs the Antitrust and Trade Regulation team and also specializes in securities litigation as well as commercial disputes. Since joining the firm in 2016, Bradley has played a substantial role in defending two Japanese auto parts manufacturers in multiple class action lawsuits seeking damages as a result of collusion in the auto parts industry pending in the Eastern District of Michigan. Colleague Peter Hawkes also has been heavily involved in representing the manufacturers in the antitrust matters entitled In re Automotive Parts Antitrust Litigation. Hawkes, whose practice includes commercial litigation and appellate work, is part of the multidistrict litigation for the case, which is one of the largest of its kind in history. He also has experience in matters related to business torts, contract disputes, the First Amendment, insurance coverage disputes, intellectual property, real estate, securities and others. Abraham Lorber specializes in senior living and long-term care as well as real estate litigation. Lorber handled a commercial landlord/tenant case regarding who had responsibility for conducting long-term deferred structural maintenance and repairs to a parking garage in Seattle's historic Pioneer Square. In 2016, the Court ruled in favor of his client ABM Parking Service–the tenant–resulting in an approximately $970,000 judgement, which Lorber consider to be the greatest success of [his] career. Jennifer Sheffield has taken off in her career at an early age, as evident in her extensive presence within the firm. Sheffield is a member of Lane Powell's Commercial Litigation, Intellectual Property, Labor/Employment, and Class Action Defense practice groups. She authored a motion to dismiss for lack of standing in a putative class action filed against her client for an alleged Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act violation for printing too much information on a credit cardholder receipts.

Matthew Berry at Susman Godfrey has furthered secured his spot in the industry, helping secure settlements and verdicts of nearly $1 billion for his clients in the last two years. The antitrust and intellectual property litigator served as second chair counsel at a federal trial on behalf of Green Mountain Glass in a patent infringement action, which wrapped up in April 2017. A jury awarded the recycling company more than $50.3 million and found that the Ardagh Group, a glass and metal company, willfully infringed Green Mountain's patents for technology that allows glass manufacturers to use recycled glass of mixed colors. Colleague Genevieve Wallace, who primarily practices commercial and intellectual property litigation, represents travel company Expedia in federal court against claims of stealing data and passing it to competition brought by Utah-based travel company TravelPass.